Top Action Heroes

The world has known many action heroes, but the most memorable heroes combine traits of the alpha male – strong, brave, and determined – with those of a typical beta male – compassionate and loving. Since these heroes are played by movie stars, they’re also sexy and handsome.

Here are our top ten action heroes:

10. Jack Ryan
Tom Clancy created a modern action hero when he introduced Jack Ryan in his military action series. When translated to the screen by Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, and Ben Affleck, he became the heroic everyman determined to save the world and his family from evil Russians or evil terrorists bent on leading us into a nuclear war and ending civilization as we know it.

9. Jackie Chan

Okay, we know Jackie Chan is a real person, but let’s be honest – he basically always plays himself. With his authentic martial arts skill, he transformed the way modern action heroes must fight in order to save the day and heralded a new wave of Hong Kong action films in American theaters.

8. Indiana Jones
Once again, Harrison Ford brings us an everyman who unwittingly becomes a hero. In addition to daring stunts and the ability to think his way out of a bad situation, he has charm, wit, and attractive safari outfits. He operates in a simpler age of Nazis and dangerous natives, but that doesn’t stop him from winning the girl, finding the prize, and saving the day. Having Sean Connery play his dad helps, too.

7. Ethan Hunt
Tom Cruise introduced the modern version of Ethan Hunt in the successful Mission: Impossible franchise. He brings with him a modern crime-fighting force featuring both men and women, but never lets us forget who the real hero is. His gadgets, masks, and high-wire stunts still leave room for eye-boggling explosions and good old-fashioned gun fights that leave us gasping for more.

6. Rambo
Rambo may not be Sylvester Stallone’s most famous character, but he is the most violent of his characters. Rambo originally embodied the wounded warrior. He started as an ex-Green Beret disconnected from the world. He became a mercenary bent on restoring right to the world and warning us of the affects of war on ordinary men. It would be a downer if it weren’t for all the impressive gun battles.

5. Neo
Once again, an everyman becomes a hero with awesome abilities in the Matrix franchise. He’s the only hero on our list who doesn’t operate in some version of the real world we know, but that’s what allows him to engage in a thrilling combination of explosions, martial arts fighting, gun battles, and superhero strength. He is every action hero ever made, and in his quest he saves the world, wins the girl, wins the prize, and discovers the truth of mankind – all before sacrificing himself.

4. Terminator

Before he was the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced us to the cyborg hero. An assassin in the first film, he became the heroic center of the latest movies as a machine fighting to save the world from his own kind (or at least save John Connor, who will then save the world, sort of.)

3. Jason Bourne
Jason Bourne would more likely be considered an anti-hero. He doesn’t want to save the world, he just wants to figure out who he is and then be left alone. When the evil government interferes, he’ll stop at nothing to exact his revenge upon them. If he weren’t played by the lovable Matt Damon, he might not be someone we root for. Fortunately, he is.

2. John McClane
John McClane is another everyman hero. (Are we sensing a theme?) He’s a simple cop who just wanted to visit his wife, and wound up unleashing one of the biggest catchphrases of all time (and also freeing the hostages.) The later movies followed the same theme – everycop John McClane vs. foreign evildoers determined to steal mega-loot and destroy John.

1. James Bond

James Bond is the ultimate hero for both men and women alike. Men wish they were as suave as him. Women want to spend a night in his arms. He’s also got razor-sharp wit, cool gadgets, serious bravery, and enough lives to last through 22 films of the legendary franchise. Though many will argue about who played the best Bond, everyone agrees that Bond is a true action hero.